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PUBLISHER: Sphere

PAGES: 368

PUBLICATION DATE: 13th July 2017

The Summer of Serendipity is a charming and engaging read set on the west coast of Ireland. Ren, short for Serendipity, and her assistant/friend Kiki embark on a journey to Ireland in hope to find the perfect house for a client (Ren runs a property business finding THE perfect house for each of her clients). After a few unsuccessful viewings, the two find just what they are looking for. The only problem is that no one seems to know who the owner of the house is.

The story quite quickly moves away from the actual property find to the enigmatic Welcome House. The house and the whole setting itself are beautifully described and the author made it incredibly easy for the reader to feel part of the chase for the owner of the Welcome House. I don’t know an awful lot about Irish legends, but if I could hazard a guess, this book is exactly what I would imagine them to be like.

Ren and Kiki are very likeable characters – in fact the whole character cast of the charming village of Ballykiltara is fantastic. Each and every one adds more mystery and sparkle to the storyline. And of course, it wouldn’t be a true Ali McNamara book without a fair bit of romance thrown into the mix.

The Summer of Serendipity was a very enjoyable read. I’d love to read a sequel to this book to find out how Ren’s (and also Kiki’s) further life pans out.

PUBLISHER: Harper

PAGES: 432

PUBLICATION DATE: 20th April 2017

The A-Z of Everything is such an emotional, moving and yet uplifting story. In true Debbie Johnson style, she presents us with lots of humorous and witty moments all wrapped up in a rollercoaster of emotions.

Andrea is dying without having had the chance of seeing her daughters, Rose and Poppy, who have fallen out over a decade ago, re-united. On her deathbed she carefully lays plans on how to bring her daughters closer together after her death.

I truly loved everything about this book. Each letter of the alphabet takes the storyline to another level as we get to learn so much more about the sister’s and also Andrea’s life. The focus of this book is very much on family and relationships. Debbie’s writing style is just amazing. It is clear to see how much research and thought she must have put into this book to create such an easy-flowing and natural storyline.

I’ve read most of Debbie’s previous books and very much enjoyed all of them, but The A-Z of Everything is my favourite yet.

PUBLISHER: Penguin

PAGES: 352

PUBLICATION DATE: 6th July 2017

Do Not Become Alarmed is a page-turning, mind-blowing and thrilling read that put me on edge more than once whilst racing through the pages. A cruise, which should have been a relaxing family holiday for our main characters, turns out to be a complete and utter nightmare for all participants.

Liv and Nora, their respective husbands and children quickly befriend an Argentinian family onboard the cruise ship. All is well until a fateful land excursion in Central America turns their lives upside down when the children go missing… As a mother myself I don’t even dare to imagine the panic that must run through the parent’s veins as they discover the absence of their children. I literally raced through the pages in hope for a quick re-union between the parents and the children.

I thought that Do Not Become Alarmed was well written. The author creates such suspense and chill that is easily felt by the reader. The perspective changes between the children’s and parent’s point of view which I thought was cleverly thought out and adds a lot of depth to the storyline.

For me, Do Not Become Alarmed, is one of these books that completely grips you and plays tricks on your mind as you are rooting for a positive outcome from this whole misery. A thrilling read that I can easily recommend. 

PUBLISHER: HQ

PAGES: 384

PUBLICATION DATE: 15th June 2017

I am a huge fan of Sarah Morgan’s writing and have read most of her previous books. When I saw her newest offering on NetGalley, I immediately knew I wanted to read this one.

Twin sisters Fliss and Harriet own a dog walking business in Manhattan. A good 10 years ago Fliss separated from her teenage sweetheart Seth and hasn’t seen him since. That is until he covers for a vet in the clinic the sisters use for their business. There is a lot of hurt and undiscussed feelings between Fliss and Harriet, but rather than to talk to Seth, she escapes to the Hamptons in order to care for her elderly grandmother. However, this might have not been her smartest plan, as the first person she comes across in the Hamptons is none other than Seth. To make matters worse, she pretends to be her identical twin Harriet. How long will Fliss be able to keep her little white lie up?

In true Sarah Morgan style, this novel is filled with plently of romantic moments and sheer passion. I loved her depiction of the Hamptons. Not that I have ever been there (and to be honest, probably will never go there – unless I win the lottery), but I thought the setting was extremely well chosen and tied in fantastically with the whole feel of the book. 

Fliss was a very likeable character and I rooted for her from the beginning on. The reader quickly gets an insight into her emotional state as we learn more about her past. She puts on a brave face to guard herself from any hurt, but her inner voice depicts a different story altogether. Will she, this time around, be able to open up to Seth?

Holiday in the Hamptons is a fantastic read, a rollercoaster of emotions and a story about second chances. 

Have you heard of the Finnish concept of using a Baby Box as your newborn’s first bed? I had recently read an article about this and found the whole thing incredibly interesting. Studies have shown that putting a baby to sleep in a Baby Box can help reduce the causes associated with SIDS. When we were asked to try out the British Baby Box, I jumped at the chance of putting this concept to the test.

We’ve been using the Baby Box for the last few weeks and are absolutely in love. The standard box comes with a mattress and a fitted sheet. There is however also the option of upgrading the box to include blankets, bibs, sleep suits and much more. The Baby Box is extremely versatile and effectively so much more than just a box for baby to sleep in. Here is what we like about it the most:

  • the box is extremely sturdy and well put together (we’ve been carrying it about a bit – from room to room and also in the garden – it still looks as good as when we received the box)
  • the mattress and sheet are of very good quality
  • when baby gets too big for the box it can be used as a storage box 
  • the simple design (grey stars on a white background) is very appealing 

During the amazing sunny days we had recently, we took the box out in the garden a lot. Not only is our daughter very comfortable and content just lying in the box playing, but it also protects her. We have quite a few ants in the grass and I was never happy to just put her on a blanket – the box solves this problem perfectly. 

With the Baby Box we were also kindly sent a Baby Annabell. Zapf is a brand we’ve been using for ages. Our older daughter has quite a few dolls created by Zapf and loves every single one of them dearly.

Baby Annabell Newborn is the smallest and most lightweight doll in the Baby Annabell range and especially designed for babies and young children. This is such a perfect first doll for our baby girl. The body is soft and can be washed and the PVC face is easily wiped clean. Our baby girl particularly loves the rattle that is included in the doll’s body.